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Act 5 is a very fast-paced act, so I wanted to hold off on making these updates until I had the entire act completed and could post them all at once. This is not the place to leave you hanging for literal years as I've unfortunately done before (sorry about that.)
Whew. Act 5. Some of you have have either played this game or heard me talking about what was coming. If not, all I can say is... brace yourself.
The game, however, can say much more than that. This title card is kind of a giveaway for anyone who was paying attention to certain details from earlier updates. As in, Gee, I wonder what previously-unused exhibit in which previously-unused room is going to become important in this chapter?
Of course, this is far from either the first or the worst instance of this game spoiling itself, so hey.
Right, then. Here we go.
... Here we go after a random encouraging message and yet another copyright check. You're doing a fine job, Laura, but not quite fine enough for us to trust you legitimately purchased this game. Not even after however many other times you've already passed this same test. (In their defense, though, they're right; I haven't. But it was abandonware, so.)
Here we go for real, now. We start in the mastadon room and are immediately greeted with a very ominous startle-chord, the kind that played the first few times Laura found a body. It's jarring, it's alarming, and it made me wonder if the game finally noticed I was just clicking the copyright answers at random on what I assume is a cracked-so-every-answer-is-accepted version of the game.
No, the game is just playing scary tense music now. Also, we have company! He sure looks friend--
Turns out that Act 5 is a giant chase scene. The walkthroughs helpfully label our mystery assailant as "Mr. X" and he is presumably the killer, turning his sights on Laura as his next victim. I remembered that this act was coming but I couldn't remember why, in terms of story. I'd have thought something happened to explain the sudden gear switch, because right now it kind of looks like we missed a page in the script between my last update and this one. Nope, the game really does conclude Act 4 with "You have successfully found the Countess's body OH BY THE WAY IT'S ACT 5 OH BY THE WAY MR. X IS CHASING YOU."
With no apparent in-game lead-in to this, I can only conclude that I've been taking so long with this project that I ran out of time and Baron von Blubba is now after me.
This, by the way, is why Act 4 (specifically, Act 4 before examining the Countess) was our absolute last chance to refill the snake oil, collect the boot, and whatever else we may have needed to win the game. We are obviously a little too busy and distracted to be doing any further investigating right now. And once this little matter is resolved, the game is essentially over, with a final exam and whatever evidence you managed to collect before now determining the ending. So, uh, that was that. Hope we're ready for everything that's coming!
Wait, are we ready?
We had certainly better be, with an inventory like that. I can't even remember where a lot of this stuff came from, and a good chunk of it has yet to see any sort of use. I'm assuming that this act (if it's a usable item meant to help us escape the killer) or the next (if it's evidence) are what all of this stuff was for. Like Chekhov's Gun, except this is more like us spending the first four acts gathering up Chekhov's entire armory, because we probably need all of them going off at once to shoot the endboss enough times to beat him.
That analogy got a little out of control at the end, there.
Anyway, the point is, expect a lot of "And then we need to use the ___" lines in the next few paragraphs. In the interest of saving time, just assume each one has a silent unspoken "(You remember the ___, right?)" after it. In fact, I should keep a running tally of how many "If you forgot a certain thing, the game is now unwinnable" items come into play this chapter. Also, I'm going to bend my own rules a little and start us at one already, before the chapter even begins, because of the humble magnifying glass. We won't be needing the magnifying glass in this chapter, but we will be needing 2-3 items (depending on how you count it--the smelling salts and both halves of the hieroglyph transcriptions) that themselves required the magnifying glass to get.
All right, off we go to hopefully avoid death!
Here's the museum layout again for reference, by the way. You may need this for the comments on our current position versus that of Mr. X to mean anything.
So, step one is to run into the pterodactyl room. How do I know this (besides the walkthroughs, obviously?) Well, Mr. X starting from the door to the Old Masters room is a pretty effective way of keeping you from going that way. I suppose I could have tried going back into the Rotunda, but the front door to the museum itself is still locked, so that would have been a very literal dead end. In fact, I just tested this in another file, and it turns out that entering the Rotunda is an automatic death. You don't even get control of the character; it just shows Laura running into the room and Mr. X immediately following, catching, and killing her.
So, after an (also literal) process of elimination, the pterodactyl room it is.
I should mention that right-clicking to cycle through all the icon until you reach the "Move" one, then finding the exact point on the edge of the screen where it turns into an arrow, and thus successfully commanding the game to move to the next room can be awkwardly cumbersome at the best of times. This, as you may have noticed, is not the best of times. The controls aren't terrible, mind you, but dealing with them while being chased for your life feels exactly like fumbling with your keys to get inside your car/home/whatever while being chased for your life.
Mr. X originally started all the way on the other side of this room (you can see his morning star right at the door in the first screenshot above,) yet by the time I finally got the command off to move to the next room, I only barely missed him on my way out.
Once in the next room, we need to throw up a barrier of some sort to stop Mr. X, or at least slow him down a little. Step one is to close the door. Step two is to tie it closed using that length of wire we clipped earlier. This will buy the necessary time to move onto the next area. By that, I mean that moving on from this room without tying the door closed is an automatic death, just like trying to enter the Rotunda earlier was. This means that the wire is the first direct entry on Act 5's "I hope you remembered the ___ or else the game is unwinnable now" list, or the second overall once since I'm still counting the magnifying glass.
Unwinnable count: 2
Don't worry; there will be more.
I was tempted not to count this one because you can still collect the wire at this point if you don't already have it. You are in the pterodactyl room, after all. The wire is right there. If you somehow have the presence of mind to puzzle out that you need to run over to the pterodactyl, clip some wire, and then run then run back and use it on the door, then nothing is stopping you from doing so. Nothing except taking too long... oh, and the wire cutters. Oops.
So, I'm still counting this. You need the wire cutters to cut the wires, and if you don't have those, then you really are out of luck.
Fortunately, we came prepared, and wiring the door shut proved no trouble for our intrepid hero. Back to running for our lives!
I was going to make a snarky comment about "and Laura leisurely strolls away from danger" because adventure games usually don't bother to change the standard walking animation when the plot demands someone be running, but this game actually did. Say what you will about its other flaws (God knows I have,) but that and the effectively terrifying music during this segment are very nice and well-done touches.
From here, exits are the armor room or the T-Rex room. You would be forgiven for guessing the latter is correct after reading this Act's title, but... not yet. Besides, the T-Rex room is a dead end for now, though at least it's not an automatic death for trying like the rotunda is. So, armor room it is.
Another room and another chance to put up a barricade and buy some time. Unlike the wire situation, this one is optional. You can move on from this room without closing the door behind you and the game won't treat it as an automatic death. It might mean you have less time to do everything afterwards, but I haven't tested that.
Let's go ahead and close and bar this door just in case. Okay, now what? We're starting to run out of options. The Life Mask room is to the south and the Egyptian room to the north, but what comes after either of those? Both are dead ends.
The correct answer is the Egyptian room, sort of (I'll get to that in a second,) but like with the T-Rex detour, you at least have time to go south and try the Life Mask room, realize there's nothing there, and come back.
As I said, north is... oh, right. I completely forgot about this cutaway area. The door ostensibly leads to some employee-only area we've never been to before, but it's locked. However, there's a transom window above it, and a nearby chair to stand on....
We can put the chair in place...
... open the transom window...
... and then get back down and continue on to the Egyptian room, thus tricking Mr. X into thinking we went through the transom window. What, you weren't thinking of actually doing that for real, were you? Don't be silly.
Made it to the Egyptian room now, but we are really running out of places to keep running. Nothing in here except... the sarcophagi.
No matter how much time you had to spare with the door shenanigans, Mr. X appears so quickly after you hide in the sarcophagus that I'm kind of amazed he didn't see you getting in there from across the room.
Laura is rather quick to reemerge once he's gone, too. The ruse works, though: Mr. X didn't see her in here, so he assumed she went through the transom window and went to go smash his way into that employee-only room.
(In case you're curious, entering the Egyptian room without setting up that ruse first is like entering the armor room without wiring the pterodactyl room door shut: an automatic death.)
So, now the killer is off our trail for now. The music even changes to reflect this, into something still vaguely on-edge but far less overtly intense. The coast is... clear-ish?
So... now what?